Several years ago, I participated in 2 intense week-long workshops with Peter Grunwald, who developed the Eyebody Method of vision improvement. Peter improved his own vision from -10 or so to 20/20. He claimed that one of the main practices which helped him do this was walking after dark around his undeveloped property in New Zealand, letting his eyes learn to take in whatever light was available.
One summer evening during Peter’s workshop, he guided us as we walked in pairs over a mountain path in the dark. There was so little light that at one point I panicked and wailed that I couldn’t see a thing! Peter took my hand and had me look up to the stars far overhead, clearly visible through the thick trees which surrounded us. I journalled about this humbling experience later, wondering, since Fear is an energy of constriction, had it been constricting my sight all these years?
Growing up in thick strong eyeglasses, I used to need lots of light to see. After dark I felt afraid and helpless. “Nighttime myopia” is being unable to see far after dark, and I think this has a lot to do with fear. When I finally admitted I had a problem with seeing after dark, I practiced walking around my neighborhood in the evening well after the sun had set. This was exciting, and I felt adventurous and brave, like an explorer. The neighborhood sidewalk is seeming more well-lit lately, even where one of the street-lights is blown out, so I think my eyes are letting in more light. And when I go indoors again, the single dim floor-lamp I left on seems so bright!
This time of the year is the darkest in the Northern Hemisphere, as we’re only a day or 2 away from the winter solstice here. I’m committed to appreciating the light, even when there’s not much of it, rather than being sad there’s not more. When I come downstairs in the early morning, the 2 white cars which are usually parked across the street seem to gleam and smile at me in the low light. Not too long ago, when I looked out the front window I hardly looked past the end of my short driveway! I thought I couldn’t see anything farther than that.
You may have heard me say “The more I look, the more I see”. I’m adding a corollary: the more light I accept, the more light there is! Enjoy your own light-filled shining winter holiday.
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Astronomers confirm the eyes ability to see in the dark can take 20 minutes to accommodate fully and that time is disrupted by a cars headlights – even at a distance! Palming has a similar effect rarely scheduled as in a 20 minute refreshing habit. Palming and sunning are using either end of the eyes ability to accommodate to extremes. Practice has a cumulative effect Central fixing between the head lights of an approaching vehicle [in the dark]. Dramatically reduces the debilitating glare effect. The complete experience of a night walk enriches the life and knowledge of each sense. If you don’t feel safe walking at night. Pretend you have a power cut – switch off – unplug all the gadgets that have little lights. Be quiet. A relaxed vision system can see much clearer take a nap in the middle of the day colours are intensified and focusing significantly improves. In the evening the illumination of a rooms lighting appears significantly brighter. Summarizing explore the extremes of volumes of light – in a candle lit restaurant rapidly shift between the candle and the darkest section in the full field of view… blinking frequently – even a 6 second tight eye squeeze.
Thanks for your comments, Christopher. When I can fit it in, I meditate in late afternoon for at least 1/2 hour (I always do this first thing in the morning), and have noticed my whole body feels refreshed from this, just like with a nap. This includes my vision.
The most conducive times for meditation and refreshing walks are around run-rise and sunset when refraction of sunlight heightens colour intensity and perception of the boarders of infra red and ultra violet. Shadows move noticeably heighten visual experiences before sunset and after sunrise – double the connection with textures of the natural environment. Connect to now – let thoughts evaporate.
Love this, Nancy! I miss the darkness that you get when you live outside the city. Sigh. Maybe one day… xoxo
Thanks for reading, my friend! Seeing the darkness as exciting rather than scary has been a big shift for me. Love you!